Training and capacity building have been an important component of the GCI's collaborative work in China over the last twenty years. Since 2000 this has included an informal residency program at the GCI for midlevel and senior staff from various institutions and government agencies within China, including the Dunhuang Academy (DA) and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH). Staff from these institutions undertake research and work with GCI personnel to advance collaborative projects and gain a more thorough understanding of the GCI, as well as of international conservation practice. On occasion, they also take part in other international projects of the GCI. To date, the GCI has hosted thirty-nine personnel from SACH, the Dunhuang Academy, and other institutions in China.

Recently two colleagues from SACH participated in the program for a three-month period, from April to July 2012. Shao Jun and Huang Xiaofan both hold graduate degrees in archaeology from Peking University; while at the GCI, they undertook research relevant to the ongoing revision of the China Principles. Shao Jun, previously assistant to the former director general of SACH, investigated issues surrounding presentation and interpretation of heritage sites. Huang Xiaofan, from the World Heritage Division, developed ideas regarding the use of heritage sites. In addition to utilizing the extensive library holdings of the Getty and meeting regularly with GCI's China team, they explored cultural institutions in the Los Angeles area and took field trips to San Diego, San Francisco, and the U.S. Southwest to experience management of national parks and museums.